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Concern and advice as superstar forced to drop out of Tour de France

It's no surprise that the entire cycling world has pitched in with advice since it was announced last week that Bradley Wiggins was to stand down from the Tour de France.

A knee problem has prevented Wiggins from training to the intensity required for him to be fit enough for either the Dauphine or the Tour de Suisse - both crucial preparation races for Sky's Tour Squad.

Bradley is said to be as gutted as you might expect - and the pros around him seem concerned. "This is definitely a crisis point," Shane Sutton, British Cycling's head coach told the Observer.

"What will it do to him mentally? I don't know."

He added: "When you have a setback like this you need to take inspiration from others, so I'd cite Cadel Evans, who had a rough year last year but has come back to get on the podium of the Giro at 36.

"Brad needs to set some goals as soon as possible, something to get him back on his bike. The best would probably be the Vuelta, as preparation for the world championship individual time trial, which is a goal that has eluded him until now."

So a change of focus for Wiggo? It seems that's exactly what Sutton has in mind.

He continued: "He needs to improvise, find some diversity, do different things to get the same result. It's like a sponge washing a car – he's been wrung dry.

"After last year, from Paris-Nice [in March] to the Olympic Games, the numbers he was hitting were incredible; and it wasn't only that, it was the way he went about it. There was a steeliness there, a toughness, so much appetite.

"He's 33 but I don't believe he's finished. He just needs something to whet his palate."

William Fotherington has weighed into the debate too, with a column in Friday's Guardian exploring the cyclist's options.

He writes: "Wiggins now faces a key period in his career in the next month or two. If Froome performs in the Tour, will Sky want to return to the race in 2014 with Wiggins as their leader? He not only faces competition for No1 status at the British squad from Froome, but, behind him, Ritchie Porte, the Colombian Sergio Henao and perhaps Geraint Thomas are all emerging stage race talents.

"And if Wiggins is no longer the undisputed kingpin of the British squad, what is his status and what can he hope to achieve? He will need to bounce back quickly, or his entire sporting future may be in question."

But it isn't all doom and gloom. "He is at the prime of his career now. Missing the Tour de France is not a big, big deal really," Stephen Roche, 1987 winner of the Tour told BBC Radio 5 live's Up All Night.

"There is no question in my mind that Bradley cannot get back to beating the best of them again.

"I am sure it will only fuel his enthusiasm and make him come back even stronger and fitter and more eager next year. Physically, mentally and morally it is big of course but Bradley is the type of guy who keeps bouncing back.

"I came back too early and ended up having a back problem. I was still having pain and was trying to compensate with one leg. I did my back in. The most important thing is to listen to your body and don't listen to your interior saying 'I have got to get back'."

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

35 comments

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Not KOM [79 posts] 3 years ago
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Is it not a little early to say 'Career in Crisis?' Wiggo probably wasn't going to ride the Tour this year anyway, and even if he had he'd have been subordinate to Froome, especially considering the monstrous course this year.

He's a stunning TT rider who hangs on in the mountains. A pure climbing like Froome would be the preferred choice. Also, he came back in 2011 after his shoulder smash, so why can't he come back again - the man's a professional athlete!

Ride the Vuelta, see if he can beat Nibbles et al there, and see how he feels at the end of the year. He'll know that the TdF this year was a dream anyway, especially to win.

Shame about the Giro though ....

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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Brian Smith was jabbering away on twitter last night about how how Sky are in turmoil (i paraphrase) with Uran leaving and possibly Stannard and how Wiggins has lost his mojo etc etc.
To be honest - for a team in apparent turmoil, love them or hate them, Sky seem to be doing very well.
Classic British tall poppy syndrome i think. On the continent riders can replace their own blood with that of several sacrificed virgins and they will still put up statues to them.
Here we hate to see people doing well and take pleasure in wishing them ill when they hit a rough patch.

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BenMWilliamson [27 posts] 3 years ago
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I think the whole situation is a bit melodramatic for my liking.

Team Sky will have a whole day-by-day layout for him to follow for him to be fully prepared to win his next race if the past is anything to go by. It will probably be the Vuelta realistically.

He was never going to be a serious TdF contender and everybody knew that.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 3 years ago
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A tad premature for the crisis talk!

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bikecellar [268 posts] 3 years ago
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Typo, should be Fotheringham not Fotherington

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Leviathan [1988 posts] 3 years ago
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Is this the ender Wiggins?

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crazy-legs [768 posts] 3 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

Classic British tall poppy syndrome i think. On the continent riders can replace their own blood with that of several sacrificed virgins and they will still put up statues to them.
Here we hate to see people doing well and take pleasure in wishing them ill when they hit a rough patch.

+1. It does bug me to read the media bigging up a sports star (Oh it's Henman's year, he can win, first British winner of Wimbledon in x years...) only to then kick them mercilessly (Oh, he's shit, we've got no talent in sport, Henman's a no-hoper).

Paraphrasing but you get the gist, it happens in most sports and I think certain aspects of the media are looking for trouble and "news" and gossip where realistically there's one rider with a bit of an injury.

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LeDomestique [34 posts] 3 years ago
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The meed-ja have to have a story and now "is Wiggo's career over" has replaced the Wiggo v. Froomie as the line of the moment. The question is, how motivated is a multi-millionaire who has been knighted by his country? Wiggo himself will know that compared with the greats of cycling, Anquetil, Hinault, Indurain, Mercx his palamares are still thin. Does his stop now and become an admired and wealthy Sky commentator or shoot for greatness. It's in his hands.

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wheelsucker [58 posts] 3 years ago
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Perhaps a career on the 6 day circuit  39

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Bigringrider [208 posts] 3 years ago
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Froome won't win the Tour.

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racyrich [254 posts] 3 years ago
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I thought he wanted to go back to the track for the 2016 Olympics, so 2014 would be his last full-on road season. A quiet (socially) winter will allow him to prepare properly for that.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 3 years ago
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I think Wiggins and Sky do have a problem. With Froome getting the nod for the TdF and other riders in the shadows looking for their turn as team leader Brailsford has his hands full balancing all the egos.

Wiggins has put himself in the shade by promising to ride from Froome when it is his chance and also looking to ride the Giro. If BW had won the Giro he would be able to name his races and command his place his the team. But now Uran placed second and has effectively put pressure on himself to prove his place.

This seems like a harsh thing to say, but it is exactly the same in football. You get substituted, injured or don't play and you have to prove your worth and talent all over again. It is easier if the replacement is duff, but Sky are victims of their own success.

I think we will soon see Brad and Sky part ways unless Brailsford can offer his some guarantees. Personally I think that with squad they have and the talent coming through Sky don't need Brad. This isn't about writing anyone off, it is about development of a commercial sports team. Sometimes there are casualties from that. If Wiggins was at Garmin, Blanco, RadioShack or FDJ it might be a different case, but it is the strength in depth that is Wiggins problem, and perhaps a lack of clear focus.

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stanfree [17 posts] 3 years ago
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To be honest even a fit Bradley Wiggins couldn't have competed against Nibali in the Giro. Cant help but think Sky's preparation for Wiggins up to the Giro was pretty lame. He had too my mind only competed in 2 events since the start of the season and spent most of his time in Mallorca and Tenerife away from competition.
Personally I cant take to Froome as he is so sullen and his girlfriend dosen't help matters , so I'd rather see a young rider from a smaller team do well. As for the Vuelta going by last years some of the hilltop finishes seemed like a freakshow compared to the Giro and Tour but I hope Brad goes for It as well as the World champs.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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Snakes and ladders?

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Not KOM [79 posts] 3 years ago
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bikeboy76 wrote:

Is this the ender Wiggins?

Someone's a sci-fi fan, clearly  1

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

Brian Smith was jabbering away on twitter last night about how how Sky are in turmoil (i paraphrase) with Uran leaving and possibly Stannard and how Wiggins has lost his mojo etc etc.
To be honest - for a team in apparent turmoil, love them or hate them, Sky seem to be doing very well.
Classic British tall poppy syndrome i think. On the continent riders can replace their own blood with that of several sacrificed virgins and they will still put up statues to them.
Here we hate to see people doing well and take pleasure in wishing them ill when they hit a rough patch.

I seriously dont know what Brian Smith's problem is but he has a serious beef with Sky (green eyed monster exacerbated by JTL situation, perhaps?). I think as both an ES commentator and someone involved with a rival team (in a minor way, anyway), he should be more circumspect instead of shooting his mouth of on Twitter and during his ES commentary. Word is that JTL was not best pleased when he heard that Smith has been talking about him being unhappy with his training programme...

And you're right about Tall Poppy Syndrome - a British malaise...

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AWPeleton [3325 posts] 3 years ago
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It's not the end of the world for Wiggins or Sky. Everyone, at some point, comes to end of the their career but i think Wiggins has at least another year at the top, Evans is an example of this but he may go for shorter stage races in the future rather than the GT's.

Can someone also tell me where the stories about Uran leaving keep coming from ? After the Giro he openly stated to Columbian media that he was really happy at Sky and was willing to stay for a lot more years. Mind you he added "if they want me still".

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

It's not the end of the world for Wiggins or Sky. Everyone, at some point, comes to end of the their career but i think Wiggins has at least another year at the top, Evans is an example of this but he may go for shorter stage races in the future rather than the GT's.

Can someone also tell me where the stories about Uran leaving keep coming from ? After the Giro he openly stated to Columbian media that he was really happy at Sky and was willing to stay for a lot more years. Mind you he added "if they want me still".

I think it was l'Equipe who first put it around that Uran was moving to OPQS. Uran did confirm that he's in discussion with a number of teams as well as with Sky re renewing. I also read that Dave B was in discussion with him re his contract during the Tour. Comes down to whether Uran's top priority is to ride as a team leader at next year's Tour. But Uran's also smart enough to know that just being a GT team leader isnt enough if the team's not strong enough to support a realistic assault on the GC. So it'll be interesting to see what happens.

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

It's not the end of the world for Wiggins or Sky.

You are wrong, it is the end of the world for everybody.

I've started stocking up on tinned goods and bottles of water for when a 33 year old rider missing the TdF to recover from illness and injury inevitably descends in to the zombie velocalypse.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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farrell wrote:
stumps wrote:

It's not the end of the world for Wiggins or Sky.

You are wrong, it is the end of the world for everybody.

I've started stocking up on tinned goods and bottles of water for when a 33 year old rider missing the TdF to recover from illness and injury inevitably descends in to the zombie velocalypse.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Can you make sure you've stocked some beers too, Tony? I'll be over when the Velocalypse starts

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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Sam1 wrote:
farrell wrote:
stumps wrote:

It's not the end of the world for Wiggins or Sky.

You are wrong, it is the end of the world for everybody.

I've started stocking up on tinned goods and bottles of water for when a 33 year old rider missing the TdF to recover from illness and injury inevitably descends in to the zombie velocalypse.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Can you make sure you've stocked some beers too, Tony? I'll be over when the Velocalypse starts

I'm not Tony, but you're more than welcome to join me just make sure you bring a corkscrew, or a multitool with a bottle opener at the very least. It may be the velocalypse but that doesn't mean we have to lose all decorum.

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TheHound [117 posts] 3 years ago
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Would Wiggins do OK in the 1 day classics?

Being a bit of a TT beast and all like Cancellara?

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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If Bradley had won the Giro, do you think he would do the TdF 2013? I think, probably not. So all that's happened is that he's crashed out of 1 race. It's not really a big deal but, as others have mentioned above, the journalists love a story to write.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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"Wiggo's career in crisis" - typical media knee jerk reaction. (I'm sorry, I don't know what gets into me at times. I'll get me [Rapha] coat).

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 3 years ago
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The Velocalypse; new name for an evil-looking bike in stealth colour scheme. Enve wheels and four horsemen painted on the top tube. Sweet.

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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I should have trademarked the arse off Velocalypse.

I'm going to rename my stag do that in fact!

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 3 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

The Velocalypse; new name for an evil-looking bike in stealth colour scheme. Enve wheels and four horsemen painted on the top tube. Sweet.

Two words: Rock Racing

 13

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 3 years ago
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Email from the Comic in my inbox this morning, flogging their TdF 100th anniversary magazine. Guess who's in pride of place on the front cover...?

(Clue: he wasn't born in Kenya)

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Tripod16 [157 posts] 3 years ago
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I think Sir Wiggo has lost the fire in the belly after the year he had last and then this year's Giro not going to plan.

He should let 2013 go, maybe look at the TT World Championship as the last vestige of the year, but focus on 2014...his heart isn't in it.

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Fran The Man [81 posts] 3 years ago
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I, too, got the Comic's email. And I've since seen the mag in the shops. The news of Wiggins' withdrawal has been around for a week or so now. Can't they keep up? As to the fire in Wiggins' belly, it'll get stoked up again. He ain't finished yet!

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